Whenever I get a chance to taste a brew from Prairie Artisan Ales, I take it! I picked up this lovely saison when I took a speedy road trip across the country with a good friend from Philadelphia. Although I was in Ohio when I purchased this bottle, I was stoked! I look forward to the day when I set up my painting kit at either the Prairie Ales taproom, or at the brewpub, and make a painting live! I have never been to Oklahoma, but when I do go I will be drinking Prairie artisan ales the whole time, and I plan on returning home with a suitcase full of this delectable brew! Cheers to the brewers that bring a smile to my face!
One of the biggest misconceptions we Alaskans deal with on a regular basis is that mailing things to and from Alaska is unreasonably expensive, and takes a long time. Some businesses assume that only FedEx and UPS ship to Alaska. We often get almost to the end of a checkout process on a website only to find out that shipping to Alaska (and Hawaii) is not available, or costs more than the item(s) in the shopping cart. The struggle is very real, and completely unnecessary, because we know for a fact that USPS can deliver to and from Alaska at affordable rates.
Our business, Real Art Is Better, relies heavily on USPS Priority and First Class Mail to send online orders all over the world. The cost to mail one print domestically is only $7.95, and an original oil painting that is 11″x14″ can be delivered as far as Vermont for under $15. The shipping time is only 3-5 days. Often on Monday mornings, we receive reviews from Etsy customers about art that we mailed on Friday afternoon! So don’t hesitate ordering from our Etsy shop, even though we are in Anchorage, because the USPS somehow manages to deliver orders surprisingly quickly, and affordably. The last day for orders to be shipped in time for Christmas is December 20 for USPS First Class and Priority Mail, and December 21 for Priority Mail Express.
So I finally found out the history behind the iconic windmill on Spenard Rd. Originally it was erected on east Fireweed in 1961, and was used as an advertisement for a liquor store called the Kut Rate Kid. Owned by Byron Gillam until the 1980’s, the liquor store was a financial success. Gillam would sell cases of directly imported beer for a small 2 cents per case profit, eliminating wholesalers and picking up sales of ice wine and liquor all at regular inflated Alaskan prices. Gillam passed away, and the business sold. The windmill then represented a pizza business that moved in, owned by a man named Mafia Mike. Due to the economic downturn in the 1980’s, the windmill had to be moved from Mafia Mike’s pizza place, so it was given to Chilkoot Charlie’s to put in the parking lot there. “Koots” is a crazy place, and inebriated clientele there threatened the structure by climbing it. Consequently, the structure is now surrounded by a 6 foot fence with barbed wire at the top to prevent lawsuits and unexpected damage.
Chugach Session Cream Ale is a brainchild of Broken Tooth Brewing, a conglomerate of the Moose’s Tooth Pizza restaurant group, including Bear Tooth Theatre Pub located about a block from the windmill. Cream Ale is a traditional American style of ale, similar to American lager in flavor and drinkability. It seemed like an obvious choice to put in the foreground for this composition.
Cheers to Spenard! One of Anchorage’s most historic, diverse, fun and interesting districts.
Da Bears. Will it be a 2018 Super Bowl victory for Chicago? No one knows, but one thing is a winner for Chicago, and that is the delicious flavor of Bourbon County Brand Stout made by Goose Island Brewing Company. Yes, this brewery is owned by InBev, but the benefit of being owned by a gigantic corporation, is being able to brew at large capacity, and to distribute far and wide. This year there was so much of this beer available, that we were able to buy it here in Anchorage, and we didn’t even have to wait until Black Friday! A member of the FB group Alaska Beer Nerds posted that a couple liquor stores in Anchorage got a shipment of BCBS, and my wife hit the road right away, and bought three bottles. There was no line. That’s one of the benefits of living in Alaska. Beer hype is not really a thing here… yet.
Drinking BCBS is one of my favorite Black Friday traditions, going back to 2014, the Year of Beer Paintings. This year I drank a 2015. Every year this beer is consistently excellent! So I hope you are lucky enough to get some. In this painting I paired Chicago’s favorite beer with its favorite NFL team, a match made in heaven… well, Soldier Field is probably heaven to some devout Bears fans.
So, I invite you to raise your tulip glasses high. Cheers to Bourbon barrel aged brews, the NFL, and Black Friday sales!
For those of you who are considering ordering gifts from Real Art Is Better this holiday season, here are some important dates to keep in mind.
HOLIDAY SALES EVENTS
First Friday Annual Holiday Open Studio Event
What: we will transform our studio into a pop-up shop for the evening. Complimentary refreshments included. Receive a free 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall poster with every purchase of $20 or higher! Enter a drawing for a Clendaniel art print of your choice.
Cynosure Brewing is one of the newer breweries in Anchorage. If you haven’t been there yet, go check it out. Cynosure is a term that originally denoted the constellation Ursa Minor, or the star Polaris that it contains. I enjoyed a spontaneous live painting session there yesterday. The owners, Clark and Cynthia, have been working really hard putting this beautiful brewery together right in the middle of Anchorage. Clark used to be the head brewer at Broken Tooth Brewing, and does all the brewing himself. Last night there were ten beers on tap! Although a couple of Clark’s Belgian beers have high original gravities, the majority of the brews are sessionable and won’t put you to bed after one glass. I grabbed a glass of the Wit (pictured in this painting), which has always been a favorite style of mine, and this one is true to style, one of the best Alaskan brewed witbiers. Be sure to sample as many of these beers as you can. A few I found noteworthy were the Schwartzbier, or black lager, the Clouds (a dry hopped lager), and the cherry sour. You won’t find a hop-bomb IPA at this brewery.
When we go out to Kincaid park, we like to stop here on the way home, as it is directly en route. Not only conveniently located to visit after biking, or skiing, it also has the right kind of beer for Après-ski. Every time I go to this place I feel extremely welcomed. This is a true hometown brewery, built with heartfelt attention to detail. I hope you get in before it becomes too busy and, God-forbid you have to wait in a long line for the very affordable ($5 glasses and $12 growlers) delicious offerings available.
Cheers to Cynosure! A family owned brewery that makes you feel like you belong.
I didn’t get to watch much of the World Series due to conflicts in my traveling schedule. The only nights I was free to watch it, there were no games. I have been a Houston Astros fan since I was a Little Leaguer, even though I have never been to Texas. I’ve been doing a bit of research about Houston and am planning a trip there now. Houston has a ton of breweries, Karbach Brewing is the only one I have sampled beer from. I would have chosen one of these brews for this painting, but I didn’t know which one to pick. I went with a classic Spoetzl Brewery’s Shiner Bock, which I know from experience is a good choice for overall consistency, and is an easy drinker to pair with sports. I eagerly look forward to a trip to Texas. Maybe a birthday trip in April.
Cheers to the new World Series champions! Houston should be proud!